How to Move and Store a Mattress

New mattress lying on wooden floor next to houseplant to be stored

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Project Overview
  • Working Time: 1 - 2 hrs
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Skill Level: Beginner
  • Estimated Cost: $50-$125

A mattress is expensive—especially in a queen or king-size—so it's important to handle it correctly during a move. Whether moving your mattress while redecorating, into a new home, or to long-term storage, you'll want to stow it properly to maintain its comfort and functionality.

Before You Begin

Take these three steps before you lift a finger to move a mattress.

Enlist a Friend

Except for moving crib mattresses and perhaps a twin mattress, you'll need an extra pair of hands to carry a mattress to and from its destination. Trying to do it alone can result in damaged walls, a torn mattress, and possibly a pulled muscle.

Measure for a Mattress Bag

You will need to measure your bed for a mattress bag. Not every mattress is a standard size. Use a measuring tape to help determine the best moving path, the correct mattress bag size to purchase, and the storage space needed. Measure the width, length, and depth (thickness) of both the mattress and support springs or box spring, if you have one.

Clear a Path

Before you lift the mattress off the bed, make sure that you have a clear moving path. Mattresses are unwieldy and accidents can happen if you are tripping over lamp cords, furniture, or boxes. Also, make sure that walls are clear of framed pictures and decorative accents that can be damaged if hit by a large mattress.

Safety Considerations

A mattress is extremely heavy and cumbersome, even for two people. For example, king and queen mattresses of any material can weigh over 100 pounds. It's highly advised to secure a moving van or pick-up truck to move a mattress and refrain from tying a mattress on top of your car for transport. Trying to lift any size mattress onto the roof can bruise you and possibly rip the mattress. A twin mattress might be okay strapped to the roof of a car without a roof rack, but a larger mattress can become damaged or create a hazard, especially if it falls off the car while you are on the highway or making a turn.

What You'll Need

Equipment / Tools

  • Furniture dolly
  • Rope or ratchet straps (optional)
  • Steam cleaner (optional)
  • Scissors

Materials

  • 1 to 2 mattress bag(s) or heavy plastic
  • Packing tape
  • Large pieces of heavy cardboard (optional)
  • Large sheet, blanket, or piece of fabric (optional)

Instructions

Materials and tools to move and store a mattress

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

How to Move a Mattress

Know what type of mattress you have and how you should handle it on a move across town or across the country.

Corner of mattress with yellow measuring tape to measure for mattress bag size

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

Floor lamp plugged into wall outlet

The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  1. Insert the Mattress Into the Bag

    Mattress bags are made of heavy-duty plastic to protect your mattress from dust and dirt during a move. The bags are sold in standard sizes—twin, double, queen, and king—and available in a package of one or two, so one can be used for the box spring.

    Slide the bag over the mattress and secure it with packing tape.

    Mattress back covering corner of mattress closeup

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    Tip

    If you have an extra thick mattress, buy a larger size to be sure the mattress will fit.

  2. Position the Mattress Correctly

    Since most mattresses will not fit through a doorway when lying flat, flip the bag-covered mattress onto its side so it is longer than it is tall.

    Mattress in clear mattress bag stacked on its side and leaning on wall

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  3. Move the Mattress Securely

    If you have a furniture dolly to help with the move, use heavy ropes or ratchet straps to secure the mattress to the dolly. You can also use a large sheet of heavy cardboard under the mattress to slide it along carpeted floors and stairs. Here are two things to avoid while moving a mattress:

    • Do not drag the mattress along a hardwood floor, or you'll likely leave marks on both the floor and mattress. Use a sheet or blanket (not cardboard) under the mattress to slide it along safely.
    • Do not slide the mattress down the stairs without something underneath it for support or the bumps may damage the entire structure of the mattress. Use a sheet, blanket, or cardboard.
    Mattress placed on furniture folly and secured with orange rachet straps for moving

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

  4. Transport the Mattress Correctly

    If the move is a quick one across town, most mattresses will not be harmed however they're positioned while in the moving van. However, if the move is a long one or the mattress will be stored in a moving van for more than a week, follow these basic guidelines for the best positioning of the mattress:

    • Memory foam or hybrid mattress: Place a foam or hybrid mattress flat on a flat surface and do not turn it on its side. Any mattress with foam in it will try to collapse from its own weight if it's on its side.
    • Innerspring or encased coil mattress: Move the mattress onto its side or flat on a flat surface.
    • Box spring: Position the box spring on its side or lay it flat. The mattress can be placed flat on top of the flat box spring.

    Secure the mattress firmly in place with ropes or ratchet straps to the side of the moving van or the flat surface.

    Warning

    Never place boxes or heavy furniture on top of the mattress (whether it's flat or on its side) when transporting it in a van or moving truck. The weight may damage the mattress.

    How to Store a Mattress

    Whether you are storing a mattress in an attic, a storage container, a storage facility, or communal space, follow these steps to protect your investment so the mattress can be used again.

  5. Clean the Mattress Before Storing

    Mattresses hold dead skin cells and dust mites and absorb our body oils and sweat each night. These oils can become rancid and create hard-to-remove odors if left in the mattress or exposed to high heat for a length of time.

    Clean the mattress yourself using a steam cleaner or have it professionally cleaned before storing it. Make certain that the mattress is thoroughly dry before storage to eliminate the risk of mold and mildew.

    Tip

    If you don't have a steam cleaner, vacuum all sides of your mattress with your brush attachment for a quick cleaning. If you have time, freshen your mattress by sprinkling baking soda on the side you sleep on, leave it on for a minimum of an hour, then thoroughly vacuum before storing.

  6. Avoid Heat and Humidity

    When choosing a space for mattress storage, avoid damp basements, hot attics, or any space that is not temperature-controlled or does not have conditioned air. If you must use a space that is not temperature controlled, check the mattress often for signs of mildew damage.

  7. Keep the Mattress and Box Springs in Mattress Bags

    Never store a mattress uncovered. If you did not use a mattress bag during the move to the storage site, place the mattress in one for storage. Make sure that the bag is completely sealed with packing tape to keep dust and insects from reaching the mattress or box springs.

  8. Position the Mattress Correctly in Storage

    Mattresses should be stored flat with nothing placed on top. Heavy furniture or boxes will compress the mattress, and it will not bounce back.

    Never store a mattress on its side for an extended period of time. A mattress is designed to lie flat, and storing it on its side can damage the integrity of the internal structure. This rule applies to all types of mattresses including gel memory foam, latex, hybrid, or spring coil. If you have no choice but to store the mattress on its side, rotate it to the other side every 30 days.

    Tip

    Mattress toppers can be rolled and stored in a plastic bag or moving box during the move. During lengthy storage periods, unroll them to lie flat on the mattress and cover them with plastic sheeting or a bedsheet.

    Two sets of hands moving mattress on wooden floor

    The Spruce / Nelly Cuanalo

    When to Call a Professional

    It may be a wise move to rent a moving van, especially if you have a large mattress or multiple mattresses to transport. There are also plenty of smaller moving companies that may be willing to move only your mattress a short distance.